What To Do When The Hardware Buttons On Your Phone Stop Working

What To Do When The Hardware Buttons On Your Phone Stop Working

Nothing lasts forever and that’s doubly true for your gadgets. Unfortunately, while you can do a lot to fix software problems that come with an old phone, broken buttons can be a lot more troublesome. Here are some ways to get around broken volume, power and home buttons on your smartphone.

Photo by myVector (Shutterstock).

Replace Android Buttons with Button Savior


If the power or volume buttons on your Android phone are a little worse for wear, you can replace them with a few software apps. One of the best around is Button Savior, which adds a small panel on the side of your screen and gives you access to power, home, camera, call and volume buttons. If you’ve rooted your phone, you can also simulate the back and search buttons.

If Button Savior isn’t quite what you’re looking for, XDA user tobnddl (who inspired this post) runs down some other great options here. Turn off the Lights puts a software button on your screen that shuts your screen on and off, while Volume Control Widget is a simple, free widget that has sliders for notification, alarm and media volumes. He also notes apps that use the phone’s gyroscope and light sensor, which are pretty clever.

Android has a lot of similar apps out there, with different methods for replacing the buttons, so search around if none of the above get the job done for you. Button Savior is definitely our first choice, and with root access, there’s little that it can’t replace. [clear]

Replace iPhone Buttons with AssistiveTouch


If you’re on an iPhone, you don’t have as many options. Luckily, iOS 5 and above have a pretty great option built in called AssistiveTouch. Just head to Settings > General > Accessibility, and scroll down to AssistiveTouch. Turn AssistiveTouch on, and you’ll see a small grey button overlaid atop your screen. You can move it around wherever you want and tap the button to get lots of options. Pressing the Home button simulates a home button press, while tapping Device gives you options for locking the screen, changing the volume, bringing up the multitasking menu and more. In short, it replaces nearly everything you could previously do with a physical button.

If you’re jailbroken, you have other slightly easier options. Previously mentioned SBSettings puts useful settings in your Notification Center, so you can do such things as turn off your phone and adjust the volume.

Just because you don’t upgrade your phone every year doesn’t mean you have to deal with faulty buttons. These solutions aren’t as great as having physical buttons, but they should get you by if your device is out of warranty.


  • Or you could use Activator (jailbroken phone required), which lets you create custom gestures. Such as double tap screen to bring up open apps window.

  • CO contact cleaner is better than WD40, it does however depend on button construction, some are sealed and some are not, meaning some can be cleaned and some not. If you are good with a soldering most buttons can be replaced.

  • If the phone is still under a phone contact, take it back to the manufacturer. Spend close to $1k on your phone for the button to stop working after the warranty period? Not acceptable. ACCC is your friend.

  • As silly as it sounds, I fixed my part time working iPhone 4 home button by wiping the screen down with ALDI alcoholic handwash (the one that drys up straight away) and smearing a little using a tissue around the outside of the home button. My guess is that 2 years of sweat/dust/gunk stops a fluid motion of the home button. I must have dusty pockets…

    **This worked for me, no guarantee it will work for you or void warranty. Good luck!

  • Mind you, Just some handy hints for the older models…

    Running iOS 5.1.1 JB Untethered on an iPhone 4 handset with a bunch of disabled LaunchDaemons, FakeClockUp, Ayecon Theme (Winterboard), CleanStatus, Mail Enhancer Pro… just to mention a few..

    I bet would run almost as fast as an Apple iPhone 5 with standard firmware… almost..

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